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Cigar Review – CAO OSA Sol Lot 50

Out of all of the new releases that were unveiled at this year’s IPCPR trade show, the CAO OSA Sol was probably the most anticipated. Since it was the first CAO cigar to come out since General Cigar Co. took over their operations, I think people were very anxious to find out how the two would work together. I was, anyway, so when Mark from General came by a couple months ago with some samples of the Lot 50 size, I was sure to snag a couple for review.

Admittedly, I’d previously had a couple of sticks of CAO OSA Sol right off the truck, and I wasn’t too impressed. This, though, says nothing about the quality of the cigar; the samples I smoked were brought back from the trade show in Las Vegas, where they sat in incredibly dry, 100-plus degree weather for several days. As you know, these are hardly the conditions that you want to store your cigars in, so I think the first samples I had got a bit of a raw deal.

I wanted to make sure that this particular stick had a fair shot at making an impression, so rather than hastily smoking it right off the truck (or more accurately, right out of Mark’s car), I let it sit in my humidor for about 6 weeks. This made more of a difference than I could even imagine, because this stick was absolutely nothing like the samples I’d tried earlier. The silky, slightly-oily wrapper had just the right amount of give, and there were no soft or hard spots throughout the entire cigar. Clipping the cap revealed evenly-packed filler tobaccos, and the draw, which was plugged in the previous samples, was incredibly easy. Pre-light flavors of graham cracker, cedar, leather, and a little bit of pepper were enough to peak my interest, so I unholstered my trusty dual-torch lighter and went to work on the foot.

Once the cigar was lit, it produced creamy, smooth smoke with almost none of the pepper I tasted on the pre-light. I tasted mild coffee, graham cracker, walnuts, a little bit of cocoa, and some malted sweetness on the finish. This, along with a straight burn, made me think twice about this newcomer to CAO’s lineup. The pepper started to heat up about an inch into the cigar, and when it combined with the graham cracker flavor, it reminded me of a spicier-than-usual gingerbread.

This spice, though, tapered off towards the midpoint of the cigar. Here, I tasted cinnamon, cocoa, and a fruit sweetness that reminded me distinctly of caramelized pear. Even halfway through, this was way more complex than the other ROTT samples were. For that matter, it was way more complex than most of the cigars I’ve had from either CAO or General. Judging from this sample (and the second one I smoked shortly after I was done), the CAO OSA Sol is a cigar all its own.

In the final third, the flavors turned woody, though they still had some residual sweetness. Rather than the fruit sweetness of the second third, though, I now picked up what tasted like sweetened coffee. From here until the end of the smoke, I tasted coffee, citrus bitterness, malted sweetness, and some creamy, sweet milk chocolate on the retrohale. Satisfied that this cigar had done all in its power to win me over, I set down the nub with around an inch left.

If there’s one testament to why you should rest your cigars before smoking them, it’s the CAO OSA Sol. Like I said before, the ROTT samples of this cigar were nothing to write home about, but after giving them a few weeks in my humidor, it was like I was smoking a completely different cigar, so take any negative review of this cigar with a grain of salt. I still have a few samples left over, and I can only imagine what a few months of age will do to them, so I am very much looking forward to smoking more of these. Anyway, everyone have a great weekend, and thanks to Mark from General for bringing the samples!